After all, the Gen-F HSV GTS will be Australia’s most powerful production car when it arrives sometime in August this year, three months after the debut of the other models in the Gen-F range.
With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about Australia’s new home-grown hero - the 2014 HSV GTS.
Clearance with the bonnet, firewall and transmission tunnel were the biggest issues, which necessitated an ultra-low mounting position for the LSA engine. This in turn created a ground clearance issue, which was solved by increasing the tyre sidewall height.
The front-left of the engine bay also needed to accommodate the plumbing for the LSA’s bi-modal inlet tract, and the GTS also needed greater cooling capacity than what the standard Gen-F front bumper could offer.
That’s part of the reason why the GTS’ front bumper (which is unique to the GTS) is so aggressively vented.
After all, between the radiator, the water-to-air intercooler, engine oil-cooler and the separate gearbox and differential coolers, there’s a grand total of eight heat exchangers in the GTS, and they all need airflow.
It’s a lot of effort to go to, but the payoff is this: 430kW of power at 6000rpm and 740Nm of torque at 4200rpm and a redline of 6200rpm.
Just like the Camaro ZL1, the HSV GTS utilises a bi-modal intake to feed enough air to its Eaton four-lobe supercharger. Peak boost is a relatively low 9psi, and the GTS features a boost guage on the EDI display in the cabin.
In the Camaro, the LSA is good enough for a Nurburgring lap time of 7 minutes, 41 seconds.
HSV has yet to take the new GTS on a trip to Germany, but one thing’s for sure: with the LSA sitting in its engine bay, the GTS is the most powerful car to ever roll down an Australian production line.
The GTS can be had with a manual or an automatic transmission, although just as with the engine neither was an easy fit into the GTS’ Commodore-based platform.
The six-speed manual is the MG9 variant of the Tremec TR6060, which features a number of reinforcements to help it handle the LSA’s substantial torque output.
One such feature is the twin-plate clutch, which required a longer bellhousing which consequently moved the position of the gear lever three centimetres rearward - enough to make it foul on the floorpan.
As a result, HSV had to engineer a modified shifter linkage to bring the gear lever forward enough to fit through the standard Commodore floorpan.
Fitting the 6L90E six-speed automatic wasn’t any easier.
The added bulk of the 6L90E (which is markedly different to the 6L80E used by the rest of the Gen-F range) made the auto a tight squeeze into the GTS’ trans tunnel, so much so that it - and the engine - needed to be raked back in order to fit.
The Camaro ZL1 was also transplanted into the GTS, and it wasn’t without its own issues either. The Commodore’s electronic park brake had to be grafted into the Camaro hardware, and the prop shafts and axles are specific to the GTS.
But the benefit lies in the strength of the Camaro rear-end’s 9.9-inch differential, not to mention the significantly lighter aluminium suspension knuckles and torque-vectoring system.
The GTS’ torque-vectoring mode is a first for an Australian-built car, and uses a brake-based system rather than an active differential.
By braking the inside rear wheel, the GTS can direct more torque to the outside wheel when turning a corner, limiting wheelspin and effectively steering the car into the turn.
The system only functions when accelerating and when the Driver Preference Dial is set to Sport or Track mode, but HSV says it works wonders by making the GTS’ prodigious thrust more manageable.
For the Gen-F, HSV has given its Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) suspension a thorough revamp.
Now in its third generation, MRC gains dual-coil hardware that’s capable of adjusting the viscosity of the oil in each damper far quicker and with far greater precision than ever before.
That translates into greatly improved suspension response, better comfort and better body control.
The GTS is also the only model in the Gen-F range to get a three-mode version of MRC. In addition to the comfort-oriented Touring mode and Sports mode, the GTS gains an ultra-hard Track mode.
Launch control remains standard on every manual-equipped GTS, however HSV has yet to release an official 0-100km/h time.
Automatics do without launch control, but what’s more irksome is that they also don’t get paddle shifters. An oversight for a car that will most likely spend a lot of time on the track, we think.
Sourced from AP Racing, the GTS sports a set of racetrack-ready brakes that are larger than ever before.
Measuring 390x36mm at the front and 372x28mm at the rear, the GTS’ two-piece rotors offer a huge increase in size over the 378mm front and 350mm rear rotors of the outgoing car.
Six-piston forged AP Racing calipers sit up front while the four-piston rear calipers are also forged.
On the front calipers extensive machining drops weight by 250 grams each side, which produces a big handling benefit through the reduction of unsprung weight.
Besides its unique front fascia, the HSV GTS also stands out from the rest of the HSV line thanks to its dark grey 20-inch forged alloy wheels, GTS-specific LED daytime running lamps and big V8 Super Cars-inspired rear wing.
A giant “LSA” badge on the bootlid is also a tell-talle sign that this is top dog in the HSV family, as is the prominent yellow ‘GTS’ emblem in the front airdam.
The GTS comes equipped with all of the features of the Senator Signature. That means sumptuous (and deeply-bolstered) heated leather seats, a Bose audio system, forward collision alert, lane departure warning and rain-sensing wipers are all standard-issue.
There’s also a head-up display, which projects speed, tachometer, lateral G and sat-nav instructions onto the windscreen.
That’s all in addition to the features that are standard across the entire HSV Gen-F range: dual-zone climate control, Driver Preference Dial, a blind zone monitor, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, a self-parking function, keyless entry and a push-button starter.
Pricing and Availability.
The HSV GTS will go on sale nationally from August 2013, however pricing has yet to be announced.
HSV promises that the final pricetag won’t be any higher than $95k, though, so watch this space.